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In its Visual Networking Index, Cisco forecasts that by 2022, video internet traffic will be 82 percent of all business and individual user traffic. Small businesses have a lot to gain from adding online video to their marketing scheme.
Consider this: With more than 1 billion users, YouTube is now the second-most popular social network. Videos are also the most shared content on Facebook and a variety of other social networks, while 82 percent of Twitter users use the platform to watch video content.
In Animoto’s 2018 State of Social Video Marketer Trends survey, 45 percent of consumers said they have discovered new products that they later purchased by watching a video ad on social media – far more than were impacted by other social media marketing mediums.
By creating a video blog, entrepreneurs can not only direct more traffic to their website and increase sales, but they can also raise revenue by capitalizing on videos they publish to YouTube.
The numbers speak for themselves. According to a ComScore Video Metrix, an impressive 64 percent of viewers were more likely to make an online purchase after viewing a video. Plus, Unruly found consumers who enjoyed watching a video were 97 percent more likely to make a purchase, and brand association rose by 139 percent.
So, what is it about video that makes it so attractive to just about everyone? It definitely grabs attention, as it includes three basic attention-grabbing characteristics: imagery, movement and sound. People are 27 times more likely to click on an online video ad than a static banner ad.
But audiences are also more likely to retain video content than text and still images. One study found that people retain 65 percent of visual information after three days, but only 10 percent of information communicated by text alone.
It’s no wonder the average consumer can retain more information from video. The notion that human attention span has shrunk to just 8 seconds may have been largely debunked, but we all understand that we have mere seconds to capture an online audience.
Considering that Forrester Research determined that one minute of video content can be as valuable as 1.8 million words, it’s understandable that the medium is a worthwhile investment.
“It’s easier for people to digest a complex concept by watching a 2-to-3-minute video versus trying to read an 8-page white paper,” Attivio online marketing director Drew Smith told Marketing Sherpa.
It is any wonder, then, why Attivio saw its unique monthly visitors increase by 200-300 percent once it started publishing online videos? The team also experienced a 157-percent increase in search engine traffic.
Speaking of search listings… it’s certainly not insignificant that YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine – and happens to be owned by Google. Is it any wonder that businesses featuring video on their websites see 41 percent more traffic than the competition? Videos provide opportunity to utilize a variety of off-page SEO factors, as well as building links directing toward your blog or landing page each time the video is shared.
Building a Video Blog
OK, so you’re convinced of the necessity to add video into your online marketing portfolio. Chances are, you already knew it was a valuable tool. But now what? How do you implement the strategy?
Build the Blog
One of the classic ways to roll out web content is via a blog and releasing video content is no exception. You can upload your videos directly to YouTube in order to take advantage of all of its benefits. After all, the site’s 149 million monthly users are not an audience any entrepreneur wants to bypass.
Plus, once uploaded to YouTube, Google can index your content, where it can show up in search results for all of infinity. After your video is on YouTube, you easily can post it to your own blog. You’ll find that many of SAP’s own video series are hosted on YouTube.
Obviously, if you haven’t built an effective website, complete with a landing page and blog yet, that should be a high priority for your brand. Fortunately, a host of website builders now allow even the most amateur of page designers to create the site their brand needs to succeed. Constantly-evolving tools like WordPress offer plenty of options to manage content, add e-commerce online stores and easily add video.
Prepare the Video
Even if you already have a successful blog, creating video content is easier said than done, right? Inexperienced videographers could very easily become overwhelmed at the concept, but the task can be simplified by breaking it into a few key parts.
Volumes can be written on effective strategies for creating a successful video, but it all comes down to the story. Whether videoing a comedy sketch, a product presentation or a branding advertisement, the videos audiences engage with the most tell a story.
They provide a who, what, where, when and why. They also follow a story arc, with a beginning, middle and end.
It’s no wonder, then, that a popular video marketing strategy is to tell the story of your brand. How did you start, where are you now and where are you going? Sharing the personal side of your company is a great way to engage viewers and let them relate to your brand.
A successful marketing video will also pull audience focus and hold it with a clear introduction. While an initial attention-grabber can pull them in, your video blog is not the place to experiment with extended artistic entrances.
Another popular video-marketing strategy is to answer a question or offer a solution to a problem. As more users access search engines for instructions and questions, Google and other search engines are capitalizing on this trend and providing more “how-to” results. In fact, simply by typing “How-to” in the YouTube search box, users are met with a relative video at the very top of their results.
So, when creating video blog content, show viewers how your product offers a solution to an everyday problem. Or, if your website is informational, create a video that answers common questions about your topic. SAP commonly uses video tutorials to explain products and services.
Perhaps most importantly, however, a successful marketing video will include a call to action. What is it you want viewers to do? Why should they do it, and how can they get it accomplished?
For example, if your goal is to entice customers to drink your juice, tell them that and tell them why they should. If you want them to read your ebook, don’t forget to state your goal, then tell them where to find it. And in case your audience is viewing your video directly from YouTube, don’t forget to point them toward your website and the rest of your engaging video blog.
Regardless of what story you decide to tell, create a script even if you are the only performer. It will help you to better plan out your message and format your presentation. While dialogue is important, it’s even more vital to organize your overall narrative.
Still, it’s wise to choose your words carefully in order to communicate the most poignant message. Your script should also include stage directions, so plan out your major movements, props and scenery.
Video Blogging Tips
While we’d all love it if we could simply post a video and wait for scads of customers not only to view it but also to pass it along to all their friends, reality tells us going viral isn’t so simple. The following tips should help you draw and audience and gain some traction:
- Invest in equipment.
Obviously, videos don’t appear out of thin air. You’ll need some equipment, and fortunately, that’s far more attainable than ever before. Most smartphones will capture more-than-adequate professional video, provided you have a decent microphone and good lighting. Plus, your smartphone’s mobile camera allows you to capture more spontaneous moments.
Be sure you invest in a tripod, so you can achieve steady and focused shots. Once you start to capitalize off your video blog, you can consider investing in a more professional camera and lights.
Audio is a key component of any video shot after the 1920s, and a quality microphone can make sure all of your footage is clearly audible. For a small investment of about $100 or less, you should be able to get an external microphone that provides premium recordings.
- Focus on lighting.
Poorly-lit videos don’t exude professionalism and are unlikely to impress viewers enough to be shared. But achieving a professional lighting setup isn’t exactly a no-brainer. Fortunately, simple yet thorough tutorials like this one from Video School Online provide clear instructions on how to create a basic three-point lighting scheme.
- Editing software is essential.
Even the most sophisticated equipment doesn’t create completed video content on its own. For a professional presentation, you’ll want to edit your videos before publishing them.
Whether making a couple of cuts and splices or adding incredible effects, editing software can help you achieve the perfect result. Windows offers its free Movie Maker for this purpose, while Apple customers can use iMovie.
An assortment of online tools and plugins also offer a broad range of effects and customizations, as do many publishing tools like WordPress.
- Choose the right music.
Which would you rather watch? A video with attractive imagery and silence or the same video with a catchy tune?
The right background music can set the tone of the entire video, and inspire fun, emotion or urgency. Be careful to consider copyrights, however, as copyright infringements on YouTube can lead to your audio being muted, banishment from YouTube or even legal action.
- Find your style.
Just like your overall website design, the videos on your blog should be styled consistently. Determine what overall visual look and feel you want to achieve with your videos, and be sure to use the same fonts, effects, filters and other color schemes across your entire video blog.
Consistency will not only contribute to the overall cohesiveness of your video blog, but it will help audiences recognize and identify your brand.
- Your title is everything.
We’d like to think overall content is what matters most to viewers. Well, maybe once you’ve already caught their attention, but without an effective title, chances are they’ll never see it.
Be sure you write a catchy title that gives viewers a glimpse into the video’s overall message. Don’t be shy about using trending terms and phrases. The Headline Analyzer is a valuable tool in creating effective titles.
- Optimize for search.
Search engines love video content. The posts are perfect for including all the important off-page factors that are so vital to search-engine optimization.
When posting a video to YouTube or your website, be sure you complete the title, URL, keywords, subtitles, tags and any other description that will match your video with popular search queries. You can even include a transcript, so Google can crawl your entire script.
Of course, you can never afford to forget the value of some strategic hashtags!
- Optimize for mobile.
Half of all online video content is consumed on mobile devices, and 92 percent of mobile viewers say they share their favorite video content with others. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer that optimizing your video for consumption on mobile devices is essential.
Keep mobile viewers in mind when shooting your video. Use a square format when possible and adjust your audio settings so your video doesn’t overwhelm casual browsers.
You can also adjust the aspect ratio of your video with tools like wave.video. Vidooly offers valuable insight on how to optimize YouTube videos for mobile viewing.
- Gauge Your Results
Like any other marketing effort, you may not find the perfect formula right off the bat. You might need to adjust your approach to better reach a particular market segment. Or, perhaps you will reach your target audience better through an alternative social channel.
Fortunately, some cloud services like SAP’s now offer marketing support, using high-speed multichannel solutions for audience discovery, targeting and segmentation.
With greater understanding of your video blog’s performance, you can determine what elements to revise with greater confidence. Tweaking your video-blogging strategy will only increase your overall return on investment.